The way to eat a bagel is with cream cheese, sliced red onions, and a big heap of lox.

My father taught me

three very important lessons about food:



Matzo brei should be savory, not sweet.


The proper breakfast to order in a diner is two eggs, over easy, and an English muffin to dip into the yolks.


The way to eat a bagel is with cream cheese, sliced red onions, and a big heap of lox.

The third is probably my favorite, and at this point in my life, I have zero use for a lox-less bagel. What’s the point? The thing is, lox can be very expensive, often up to $20 a pound.

Enter this easy, delicious, and damn fun recipe. All you need is some fresh salmon, simple brine ingredients, and a little patience. And, of course, bagels, cream cheese, and onions.


1/4 cup sugar


1/2 cup kosher salt


2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper



2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

$1 for a bunch

16 oz. skin-on, center-cut salmon, preferably wild (it’s fine to buy this frozen, just let it thaw before you cure it)


Total cost of ingredients:



Combine the sugar, salt, pepper, and dill in a mixing bowl. This is your brine mix.

Cover a plate with plastic wrap, and pour half of the sugar/salt mixture on top and spread evenly. Place the salmon on top of the spices, flesh side down, and cover with the rest of the sugar-salt mixture.

Wrap the whole thing tightly with plastic wrap (I wrapped around the plate twice) and refrigerate for at least 48 hours (it will be cured after 48, but it’s better after 60-72). Every 12 hours or so, flip the fish over and redistribute the brine mixture. As the brine mixture pulls the liquid out of the fish, you’ll notice a lot of oily residue seeping out. Wrapping the whole thing in a thick dish towel helps to keep mess to a minimum.

Once the fish has finished curing, rinse well under cool running water, pat dry, and slice very thinly against the grain. Serve immediately.

If you have leftovers, store them wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. They’ll keep for another four to five days.

Makes about 1 pound of lox.

For more brokeassness, visit